Igor Gnevashev (1936-2016) was born in 1936 in Odessa in a family of a Red Army commander. The next year, his family moved to Moscow, where he spent his childhood, graduated from high school and in 1954 entered the Moscow Polygraphic Institute. Around the same time, he became interested in photography, eventually choosing it as his primary profession. His first amateur works («Ice Cream», «Dove of Peace») were published in the magazine «Soviet Union» back in 1958 Gnevashev attended a lecture hall on the photo report at the Central House of Journalists, and in 1965 began working as a photojournalist in the RT journal of the USSR State Television and Radio Broadcasting. Since 1966, he was a reporter for the magazine «Soviet Screen», and since 1973 — «Soviet Film». In 1981, the author left work in magazines and began to engage in art photography outside the editorial offices and other professional structures.
There was more truth in his photographs than the editions for which he then tried to work. Neither the «Soviet Union», nor «Ogonyok», nor «Komsomolskaya Pravda» was ready for the «unkempt» heroes of Gnevashev, and the author was not prepared to adjust the images to idealized standards. Often the heroes of his genre photos were people with a complex, sometimes tragic fate, and he adhered to the principle of never staging an event in the frame.
A kind of compromise was his work in the movie for Gnevashev, where one of his friends brought him. Photos from the set made money, and gave him the ability to shoot what was happening «behind the scenes» appeased the desire to fix «life as it is.» Igor Gnevashev worked with almost all the masters of domestic cinema: Andrei Tarkovsky, Leonid Gaidai, Eldar Ryazanov, Mikhail Shukshin, Sergei Mikhalkov, Fedor Bondarchuk. His photographs became the hallmarks of films.
Sometimes the shots made by Gnevashev in between filming inspired the directors to new plot twists. So it was during the filming of the film «Ivan Vasilyevich Changes the Profession.» Yuri Yakovlev decided to retire and listen to the tape recorder. The photographer noticed the actor during this lesson and took a photograph (Roll Call of Times, 1977). The scene so amused Leonid Gaidai that the episode with the Tsar listening to the tape recorder was put in the film.
His photo reports from films are distinguished by psychologism and the ability to capture the atmosphere of events in the movie. It is impossible to draw a line between real life and work in the cinema. Vasily Shukshin appears to us as a passer-by talking to a dog (Vasily Shukshin on the set of Kalina Red, 1973), and the cleaning lady (photograph «The Last Touch», 1983) suddenly becomes the main character of the action.
Igor Gnevashev was a member of the Union of Journalists and the Union of Filmmakers of Russia. He also became a laureate of the professional guild of photographers and the «Golden Eye of Russia Union of Journalists» for the photographic record of Russian cinema. According to the British association «Photoexpedition,» Igor Gnevashev was among the eight best photographers in the world.